Mountain West Regional Reports

Mountain West June Garden To-Do List

Continue to deadhead, water, and fertilize container annuals to keep them looking good all summer long. Photo: Michelle Provaznik

Care for your containers. As new annuals get established in their containers, provide them with regular moisture. As the month goes on, deadhead plants to encourage continuous blooming, and provide additional fertilization (following the directions on the fertilizer you use). For houseplants you brought outdoors, water consistently and monitor for insects, hosing off with water as needed.

black lace elderberry with frost damage
This black lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra, Zones 4–9) had its newly emerged leaves frozen in spring and is just now leafing out. Dead branches will be removed this month. Photo: Michelle Provaznik

Check your trees and shrubs for frost damage. We had a hard freeze in mid-April this year across the Mountain West just as many trees were getting ready to bloom or leaf out. As a result, several types of trees including crabapples (Malus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8) and pears (Pyrus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9) didn’t bloom at all, lilacs (Syringa spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8) and other shrubs had minimal blooms, and many others had their new leaves freeze and fall off. By now, most trees and shrubs should have recovered. You may need to prune back some dead branches that did not make it.

sprinkler system inspection
As I inspect my sprinkler system, I use orange flags to signal that a sprinkler zone is not working properly. Photo: Michelle Provaznik

Monitor your sprinkler system. I check my sprinkler system every year during this month to make sure everything is still working the way it is supposed to. Repair any leaks, adjust sprinkler heads, or pop in additional drip emitters as necessary. Your plants will thank you for doing this before the heat of summer really sets in.

watering can and fertilizer
I use two different fertilizers for different parts of the season. Photo: Michelle Provaznik

Fertilize the vegetable garden. Apply fertilizer to your vegetable garden. In June, I use an organic grow type of fertilizer with higher nitrogen amounts to promote growth. As the season progresses, and depending upon the crop, I change the fertilizer to a fruit-and-flower type that has more phosphorous to promote blooming and fruiting. I use this kind on tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers to increase production.

weeding
Staying on top of weeds as they appear saves you a lot of work later on. Photo: Michelle Provaznik

Weed and deadhead perennial beds. With most of the heavy lifting done in May (both literally and figuratively!), regular maintenance begins in earnest this month. Weed your shrub and perennial beds often to keep weeds from robbing moisture from other plants. Deadhead perennials and some shrubs to promote reblooming. Salvia (Salvia spp. and cvs., Zones 4–11), daisies, roses, and many others will reward you for your efforts.

As plants begin to burst into bloom this month, be sure to sit back and enjoy the show. Photo: Mary Ann Newcomer

Enjoy your hard work. With temperatures in the 70s and 80s, bright blue Rocky Mountain skies, and the garden in full bloom, take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor this month. Cut some flowers to bring indoors, enjoy a quiet morning on the patio surrounded by the beauty of what you have created, and harvest greens for a fresh salad. For many of us, these moments are why we live in the Mountain West. Make sure to savor them.

—Michelle Provaznik is executive director of the Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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